Thursday, April 05, 2007


A July 2006 estimate of the total Iraqi population is 26,783,383.

Seventy-four percent of Iraq's population are Arabs; the other major ethnic groups are the Kurds at 22-24%, Assyrians, Iraqi Turkmen and others (5%), who mostly live in the north and northeast of the country. Other distinct groups are Persians and Armenians (possible descendants of the ancient Mesopotamian culture). About 25,000–60,000 Marsh Arabs live in southern Iraq.

Arabic and Kurdish are official languages. Assyrian and Turkmen are official languages in areas where the Assyrians and Iraqi Turkmen are located respectively. Armenian and Persian are also spoken but to a lesser extent. English is the most commonly spoken Western language.

Ethnic Composition:

Ethnic groups: Arab, 70–74%; Kurdish, 22-24%; Turkoman, Assyrian or other 5%.
Religions: Muslim, 97%; Christian or other, 3%.
Proportions: There are no official figures available, mainly due to the highly politically charged nature of the subject. Source: Britannica: Shi'a 60%, Sunni 40% Source: CIA World Fact Book: Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%

Shi'a: mostly Arabs some Turkmen and Faili Kurds almost all are Twelver school
Sunni: composed of Arabs, Turkmen who are Hanafi school and Kurds who are Shafi school
According to most western sources the majority of Iraqis are Shi'ite Arab Muslims (around 60%), and Sunnis represent about 40% of the population made up of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen. Sunnis hotly dispute these figures, including an ex-Iraqi Ambassador, referring to American sources. They claim that many reports or sources only include Arab Sunnis as 'Sunni', missing out the Kurdish and Turkmen Sunnis. Some argue that the 2003 Iraq Census shows that Sunnis were a slight majority. Ethnic Assyrians (most of whom are adherents of the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East) account for most of Iraq's sizable Christian population, along with Armenians. Bahá'ís, Mandaeans, Shabaks, and Yezidis also exist. Most Kurds are Sunni Muslims, although the Faili (Feyli) Kurds are largely Shi'a.